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Sunrise Prelude, 2017
A solo show at Dolllspace, London.

When was the last time you were in one of those office spaces? You know, the huge, never ending ones with hundreds of employees each with their own cubicle. Maybe you were in one today. Maybe you even work in one. Do you ever wonder sometimes just how you ended up in that cubical? Or perhaps the more likely question of how to get out of it?

For his first solo show at Dollspace Bob Bicknell-Knight has created a utopian office space, carpeting all three floors of the gallery in a work titled Supacord Anthracite, while a sea of blue tarpaulin, Tarp Island, turns it into an unconventional ship. Standard Assets > Water 01 - 06 is a series of water texture prints from the game engine Unity, a repeated motif of his work, one which is hinting at how video games are a source of escapism for many in this world. This is equally apparent in his moving image work, Everything Bad is Good for You, a title referencing Steven Johnson’s book which looks at how video games and television are making society as a whole, smarter.

As well as charting the evolution of water graphics in games, one is also able to swim the mysterious depths of Venice Beach via his VR piece, Do you really think you can escape by swimming underwater in a badly simulated video game environment on an eighth generation console for 15 minutes at a time? Continuing down the road of the simulated world, Bicknell-Knight has employed artificial rocks in Fake Lump of Rock > 01-03, usually used to add realism to train models, but in this case to create an idea of a virtual environment. This is another nod to the notion of utopian spaces, or the idea of a perfect place, and attempting to replicate a perfect experience, or a completely serene one, or looking ahead to how one will function in a fully simulated society.

Video games could be argued to be this perfect utopian space, where nothing you do matters and everything is forgiven, alongside the fact that it literally is ‘no place’. Feasibly we are looking into the future, the tranquil and idle nature of a future space, one where you’ll regularly go on walks through your devices. We need this ability to dream, to return to the water metaphor once again, ‘In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.’ Michel Foucault "Of Other Spaces"

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